She is only six but she has captured the hearts of the world’s most populous nation. I am of course talking about Arabella Kushner, the granddaughter of President Trump. Arabella has become Trump’s greatest diplomat in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan welcomed their US counterparts, Donald and Melania Trump, with afternoon tea at Beijing’s Forbidden City two days ago. Seeking to break the ice, Trump pulled out a tablet and showed his hosts a video of Arabella, clad in a Chinese-style dress, singing a children’s song “Our Fields, Beautiful Fields” in Mandarin and reciting part of the Three-Character Classic, an ancient text used to teach children the key values of Confucianism, and two ancient Chinese poems of Li Bai “Watching the Fall of Lushan Mountain” and “Departing from White King City in the Morning” and finishing off with another song “My Good Mom.”
The video showed Arabella opening her performance with a greeting for the Chinese president and his wife, Peng Liyuan.
“Hello Grandpa Xi. Hello Grandma Peng,” she says, before launching into a song.
It is common in China to address older people with affectionate terms like “Grandma” and “Grandpa.”
The video has gone seriously viral in China, winning Arabella accolades from China’s netizens and stealing the hearts of millions of mainland Chinese. One weibo post of the video, by state news agency Xinhua, had alone generated 11.69 million views within 24 hours, 8,849 forwards, 5,090 comments and 31,302 likes. Xi spoke highly of the child’s Chinese language skills and said her performance deserves an “A+”.
Arabella has been hailed as a small messenger of Sino-American friendship and is deeply loved by the Chinese people.
“This little girl is so smart, hope in the future that she can make a bigger contribution between friendly exchanges China and the United States,” wrote a netizen.
This is not the first time Arabella has performed in Mandarin. Last year, shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Ivanka Trump posted a video of her daughter singing a song in Mandarin.
In February this year, a video of Arabella performing “Happy New Year” with a Chinese marionette to commemorate the Lunar New Year, went viral in China, garnering some 18 million views in 24 hours.
And it’s not the first time Arabella has played a role in Sino-American diplomacy.When Xi visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida resort in April, Arabella sang “Jasmine Flower” and recited for Xi the “Three Character Classic”, a time-honoured text from the Song Dynasty that was also included in her latest clip.
Mandarin lessons for the first family cost upwards of $75,000 annually. Arabella started taking her lessons from the private Carousel of Languages school in Manhattan when she was 3 years old. Joseph Kushner, the president’s 3-year-old grandson, also takes lessons, and even 1-year-old Theodore Kushner has been spotted playing with building blocks decorated with Chinese characters.
According to Ivanka, Arabella owes her Mandarin fluency to a Chinese nanny who has been teaching her since she was just one and a half years old.